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Friday, October 14, 2016

Adirondack Murder Mystery Satisfying, But Not Remarkable

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

(Note:  While this review will not contain spoilers for A Cold and Lonely Place, it may inadvertently reveal plot surprises from its predecessor, Learning to Swim.  As always, I recommend reading books in a series in order.)

Troy Chance, a freelance journalist in Lake Placid, New York, is shooting photos of the construction of an ice palace on Lake Saranac when she gets the shock of her life.  Encased in the ice is the body of a man she knows.  A 25-year-old itinerant, Tobin Winslow was an enigma, a man who kept his past hidden from his acquaintances in the small Adirondack town.  Assigned to write an in-depth feature about Winslow, Troy starts digging into the man's life and the mystery of his untimely death.  The more she uncovers, the clearer the message becomes—someone is determined to stop Troy's unofficial investigation.  Can Troy figure out what really happened to Tobin or will her corpse be the next to turn up under the ice? 

A Cold and Lonely Place, Susan J. Henry's second book starring Troy Chance, is a compelling mystery with a few twists I didn't see coming.  Troy is a likable enough heroine, she's just not a very exciting one.  A little romance or family drama would go a long way toward making her a more complex, intriguing character.  The novel's plot is, likewise, a bit too straightforward—I would have enjoyed more suspense, more tension, more nuance.  Overall, then, the novel is satisfying, but not remarkable.  

(Readalikes:  Learning to Swim by Sara J. Henry)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for mild language (no F-bombs), violence, and references to the consumption of illegal drugs

To the FTC, with love:  I received a finished copy of A Cold and Lonely Place from the generous folks at Crown Publishing Group (a division of Penguin Random House).  Thank you!
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Swimming in a Sea of Stars by Julie Wright

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The Tobacco Wives by Adele Myer



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